CDC Mask Mandate Issued for All Public Transportation

People walk at Reagan National Airport ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday in Arlington, Va., November 25, 2020. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a sweeping order Friday evening requiring travelers to wear face masks on most forms of public transportation in an effort to slow the rising number of coronavirus cases across the country.

Travelers and commuters will be required to don a face mask on all airplanes, ships, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares. Masks must also be worn while waiting, boarding, traveling, and disembarking at airports, bus or ferry terminals, train and subway stations, and seaports. The order applies to “all passengers on public conveyances” traveling to or within the U.S.

The CDC’s order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday.

“Requiring masks on our transportation systems will protect Americans and provide confidence that we can once again travel safely even during this pandemic,” the 11-page order read. “Therefore, requiring masks will help us control this pandemic and aid in reopening America’s economy.”

The order comes as concern grows over coronavirus mutations seen in the United Kingdom, Brazil, and South Africa, just as several companies’ vaccines against the original coronavirus are being rolled out for public use.

Also on Friday, the CDC announced it will extend the federal moratorium on evictions through the end of March. The moratorium was set to expire on Sunday, but President Biden ordered that it be extended during his first week in office.

The U.S. has seen nearly 26 million cases of the coronavirus and more than 437,000 deaths among those infected with the pathogen.

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